The Vimana in the shrine of Sundareswarar is gifted by Indira the King of Devas. He was on a pilgrimage to various Shiva temples to cleanse himself of a killing sin. His sins disappeared when he found a beautiful Swayambulinga in this place praised as Kadamba Vanam – a forest dense with Kadamba trees. It is said that as a token of his gratitude to Lord Shiva, he built this temple with Indira Vimana. This temple enjoys a special importance among the 51 Shakti Peetas in the country, named Rajamadhangi Shyamala Peetam.
The idol of Mother Meenakshi is made of pure emerald stone – Maragatham stone. This is also the land of Sundaranandar, among the 18 Siddhas. This is the first temple among the 366 Shiva temples in Tamilnadu in the name of Meenakshi Sundareswar. The land-Madurai- is revered as Kailash on earth –Bhooloka Kailasam. Chanting the very name of Madurai ensures salvation to the devotee..
Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, Madurai – 625 001.
Phone: +91- 452-234 9868, 234 4360
Madurai Meenakshi temple is open from 5.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m.
The famous Chithirai Tiruvizha in April–May has the Wedding of Mother Meenakshi with Lord Shiva, Her Coronation and Car festivals. Navarathri in September-October, Aavani Moola festival in August-September, Thai float festival in January–February, Aadi Pooram in July–August, Pongal in January–February, Deepavali, Tamil and English New Year days, Vinayaka Chaturthi are other festivals celebrated in this temple. There are monthly special pujas also. Almost every day is a festival day in the temple.
King Malayadwaja Pandya and his queen Kanchanamala performed Puthrakameshti Yaga seeking child boon. Mother Uma rose from the Yaga fire as a child with three breasts. While the king stood shocked at the appearance of the child with three breasts, a voice said that one will disappear when married. As advised, the child was named Thadathagai. She grew mastering all arts.
After Malayadwaja Pandia, Thadathagi ascended the throne and gave good governance to her people. She reached the marriageable age. Thadathaga set out with Her army to conquer regions including Mount Kailash where she fought with Shiva too when one of her breasts disappeared. She understood that the Lord was her husband. Marriage was arranged. Lord Vishnu, devas, Rishis attended the divine wedding. Brahmma the Creator conducted the marriage as per Vedic rules. Lord Shiva tied the wedding knot to Mother on Panguni Uthira star day – March–April. Lord Shiva assumed charge of the government. The Bull Flag was replaced by a flag with Fish symbol. He assumed the name of Soma Sundara – Soundara Pandya.
Madurai Meenakshi temple is globally famous. Religious and political history of Tamilnadu begins from here. This is the sacred land where Lord Shiva danced changing his legs. Indira and Varuna are worshipped here. As this is the first of the 64 Shakti Peetas in the country, all pujas are first dedicated to Mother Meenakshi and then to Lord Shiva.
This is the place where a heated argument took place in the court of King Shenbaga Pandiyan about the meaning of a poem, the Lord defending poet Tharumi and got him the golden purse. This is the place that respected the freedom of expression through poet Nakkeeranar telling the Lord face to face that a poetic mistake cannot be justified by showing His eye on the forehead thus threatening his right.
Madurai is the place where Saivite Saint Tirugnanasambandar established the glory of Saivism by defeating the Jains through water and fire tests (Punal Vadam and Aunal Vadam). Lord came to the rescue of an old lady Vandhi as her coolie to patch the breach in Vaigai and received the cane blows from King Arimardhana Pandian.
The temple has five entrances and 14 towers with the South Tower being the tallest. The Thousand Pillared Mahamandap is near the north tower. There are five musical pillars. There are 985 pillars. The idol of Lord Nataraja is in the centre of the Mandap. Lord Shiva is a swayambumurthy. Of the five Sabhas where Lord performed His cosmic dance, Madurai Sabha is known as Rajatha (silver) sabha where the Lord changed the legs. This dance is called Sandhya Thandavam. The 7 feet tall Mukkuruni Pillayar–Lord Vinayaka was found from the Mariamman Teppakulam–tank. There are no fish or water creatures in the Pottramarai tank, due to a boon granted to a crane by Lord Shiva.
Pottramarai Kulam – Tank of Golden Lotus: This was created by Lord Shiva by hitting the earth with His trident responding to the request of Nandhi and other Devas. This is the first among the holy springs of the temple, also called Shiva Ganga. Indira got the golden lotus from here only for his Shiva puja. The devotee will achieve all his wishes if he/she has a dip in the tank especially on holy days as new moon day, first day of Tamil months and the eclipse day and worship the Lord. All the 64 incidents related to Lord Shiva's grace to His devotees are painted on the walls around the tank.